“A person's worth is measured by the worth of what he values.”
Copywriting is a lot like philosophy: It involves pondering a lot of head-scratching questions, pulling answers from obscure places, sharing stories that make an impact and generally pushing yourself to be better.
That is the revelation Jamie Ryder had during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when he was looking for something to recalibrate his path. Fast forward to consuming a bunch of podcasts, books and articles and he’s dug a hole too deep to climb out of.
A Manchester-based copywriter who uses philosophy to help businesses share their philosophy with the world, Ryder was inspired to set up Stoic Athenaeum through his interest in Stoicism and other ancient schools of thought. He’s on a mission to make philosophy sexy (or at least down to earth) and make timeless ideas new again.
Ryder specialises in copywriting and content marketing, which includes website writing, brand tone of voice creation, blogging and content strategy. The sectors he helps range from mental health and hospitality to self-development and eCommerce.
When not standing on his philosophical soapbox, you’ll find Ryder writing horror and fantasy fiction, drinking Japanese sake and writing about drinks from all over the world at Yamato Magazine and Drink To That.
Stoicism is an ancient philosophy that originated in Ancient Greece with a man called Zeno of Citium. Zeno was a merchant who was shipwrecked in Athens and lost all of his possessions. To find answers to his troubles he consulted an Oracle, who told him to take on the complexion of the dead.
Having no idea what this meant, Zeno wandered until he found a bookshop and started reading Xenaphon’s Memorabilia, a book about Socrates. The book changed Zeno’s life. The Oracle had told him to take on the complexion of the dead and he interpreted it as listening to the wisdom of people who had come before.
It inspired him to ask the bookseller where men like Socrates could be found and the seller pointed out a philosopher who happened to be passing by called Crates of Thebes. Zeno studied under Crates, learning about the philosophy of Cynicism and other schools until he was ready to strike out on his own.
That moment came in 300 BCE and Zeno started speaking in the Athenian marketplace and took up residence at the Stoa, or painted porch. The Stoa became the centre of Stoicism, a philosophy that taught to ‘live in accordance with nature.’
Zeno believed that living in accordance with nature meant being respectful of human nature, the environment, taking active steps to make a difference in society and living appropriately. He built Stoicism on four key pillars:
Stoic Resources To Help You
- The Daily Stoic podcast by Ryan Holiday
- How To Think Like A Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy Of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson
- The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- Letters From A Stoic by Lucius Seneca
- The Stoic Salon podcast from Kathryn Koromilas
- Stoicare, a mental health service for caregivers
- The Stoic Guide To A Happy Life by Massimo Pigliucci
- The Walled Garden podcast by Simon Drew